Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

Culture, Entertaining, Home Design, Fargo, Interior Design, DIY

Take a Tour! [Dietrich Homes]

Photography courtesy of Tara Swanson, Hatch Realty If you missed out on our One-Year Anniversary Party and Design Challenge at this West Fargo dream home, here’s your chance to tour…

Photography courtesy of Tara Swanson, Hatch Realty

If you missed out on our One-Year Anniversary Party and Design Challenge at this West Fargo dream home, here’s your chance to tour the beautiful Inspired model home by Dietrich Homes. With a floor plan providing party perfection, vaulted ceilings, and a 180-degree scenic view of the pond, this model had guests feeling right at home. Since it’s difficult to see the finer details through the crowd, we decided to share a peek inside…but this time, without the guests.

Dietrich Homes – Inspired Model Stats:
6 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
3 fireplaces
5,951 square feet

Main Floor Masterpiece

This family home is currently on the market and features over 5,951 square feet including quarter-sawn white oak hardwood floors, a main floor master suite with vaulted ceiling, office, four-season sunroom with fireplace, vaulted two-story great room, and a gourmet kitchen. Just off of the family foyer with built-in benches and command center, you’ll find a large laundry with built-in craft storage cabinetry and pull-out drying racks. Head upstairs to find the loft and three spacious bedrooms with a split bath.

Inside this stunning kitchen with custom walnut island and Silestone countertops, you’ll find a professional-grade 48” Wolf range top, drawer microwave, steam and convection wall ovens, and 60” Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer.

The master suite’s spa-inspired bath features a custom tile shower, freestanding soaking tub, makeup table, and his and hers vanities.

Lower Level Lovely
The lower walkout level is specifically designed for entertaining with ease. The space features a theater room with 110″ screen and full audio/media package, pool table, custom bar, family room, lounge and covered patio with stamped concrete and full landscape design. The custom pub-style bar features Silestone countertops, stone accent wall, sink, drawer microwave and an under-counter wine and beverage refrigerator with ice maker. Just beyond the entertainment mecca, the lower level features two spacious bedrooms with walk-in closets, a split bath and convenient garage access. As if you could possibly want for more, the house is equipped with a 7-Zone whole-home Sonos Audio system, four Sonos Playbars and one Sonos Sub.

Special thanks to Clay and Suzy Dietrich and the team at Dietrich Homes for allowing us to celebrate in his beautiful model home.
Find the Finishes
Builder – Dietrich Homes
Floorplan design – Dietrich Homes – Inspired, with Melissa Meyer, CAD Designer
Interior Design – Heather Sagvold, Dietrich Homes Inspired Design Consultant
Cabinets – Ira’s Custom Cabinets
Granite – Spaulding Stone
Appliances – Rigels
Audio – Media Master
Wood flooring – Kensok’s Hardwood FloorsFloorcoverings – Carpet World
Fireplace – Hebron Brick
Light fixtures – Valley Lights
Closets – JL Shelving
Siding – Lemke Home Improvements
Masonry – Brick Stone Masonry
Windows & materials – Crane Johnson
Garage door – EZ Open Garage Door
Mirrors & shower doors – Frontier Glass
Landscaping – A&L Landscaping


To take a tour, contact:
The Erik Hatch Team, Hatch Realty
Erik Hatch, REALTOR®
4215 31st Ave. South, Fargo

For more information, contact:
Dietrich Homes
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Midwest Nest is One! [Inside our Anniversary Celebration + Design Challenge]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography   For our first birthday, we had to go big; nearly 6,000 square-feet big, to be exact. Partnering up with Dietrich…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography


For our first birthday, we had to go big; nearly 6,000 square-feet big, to be exact. Partnering up with Dietrich Homes as our gracious party host, we invited our readers, family, friends, team and contributors to celebrate the first 365 days of pure adventure. If you didn’t make it out to the party at this beautiful model home in West Fargo, you also missed out on the debut and room reveal of our first annual Design Challenge, featuring nine local designers. Not to worry, we’ve got it covered. Read on and we’ll give you a glimpse inside the party, room reveals and winner announcement, then finish with a tour through the spectacular host home.

Special thanks to our wonderful, party partners:
Host: Inspired by Dietrich Homes
Luna Fargo
Shotwell Floral & Greenhouse
Chef’s Table Catering
The Spirit Shop
Tru Blu Social Club
Design Challenge bedroom furnishings – Furniture for Less
Down Home

[2018 Design Challenge]

As part of our one-year anniversary celebration, we wanted to do something that would unite the talented people whom we get the joy of working with every day. Our publisher, Susan Hozak-Cardinal, came up with a brilliant idea; since we were having our party in a Dietrich Homes model home, why not make the most of the space? We decided to invite nine local designers to meet with us, get randomly thrown into teams of three, then give them 24 hours to complete an entire room makeover.

We gave them all a bare room with the same furniture and a strict budget of $450. Since we always encourage shopping small, we made sure the bulk of it got spent at local boutiques and thrift stores around the Fargo-Moorhead area. To top it off, we decided to donate all of the decor and bedding to an organization called Down Home – their team takes on design challenges and room makeovers all year long, helping the homeless make a more beautiful transition into permanent housing. Meet the extraordinary designers and see inside the three rooms that were revealed to the public at our one-year anniversary celebration!

But First…the Design Challenge Guidelines
All three teams were given one bedroom to decorate and a timeframe of just over 24 hours. Each bedroom started with the same bed frame, mattress and bedside tables which had been provided by Furniture for Less. As far as creative boundaries, the sky was the limit -they just couldn’t damage the walls or repaint the room. Rooms would be revealed at the Midwest Nest party and guests would be allowed to cast their vote.

All teams received $450* in funds to decorate the bedroom with the following breakdown:

● $100 Local Thrift Store

● $100 Chain or Big Box Store

● $250 Locally-Owned Boutique

*Each designer was allowed to donate up to two items to their room

And the Winner is…

Room #1: Team “Dream Weavers”
Linda Birmingham of Designingwomen2
Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design
Melanie Iverson of Mosaic Design + Build

To get started, the winning team first chose their name, Dream Weavers. This would represent both their room theme and Down Home, the non-profit that would benefit from the challenge. It would come to stand for the three of them uniting from different design/decorating firms and weaving their talents, in an effort to help others work towards their dreams.

Their team wanted to stay on-trend, but do something unexpected. Inspired by a vintage rug Iverson almost gave away, their theme became Romantic Boho. To achieve this, they relied on a mix of old and new, with a splash of floral. Hill donated the removable peony wall decals from his own home, while the sconces, lamps and chairs were thrift store finds. The coverlet and carved wall piece were donated by Birmingham’s store, Designingwomen2.

“Hanging the chandelier over the bed, without damaging the sheetrock, was definitely a challenge,” said Birmingham. “But, with a bit of MacGyvering, we made it work.”

“Because we wanted those touring the room to feel like they were entering a honeymoon suite or a B&B, we chose to burn a volcano candle and play my prom theme song, ‘Dream Weaver’. Did I just date myself?” laughed Birmingham. “I think I’m safe to speak for Trever and Melanie when I say, we had a blast and I think we all loved the challenge. I was nervous to team up with peers I had never worked with, but when this was over, I was a bit sad. I felt like had known them forever – working, collaborating and even struggling, was a joy.”

“The biggest challenges to the room were the budget and timeline,” said Iverson. “Our team had a couple other commitments so we only had 12 hours together, from start to finish. We had to think quickly and strategically to be sure the design was cohesive and that the products we chose were intentional because every dollar was extremely important.”

Find the Goods!
Gold lamps, weaved “dream catcher”, mirror, two chairs, two candle sconces – The Arc and Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch
Four pillows and the wool blanket – The White House Co.
Pillows and shams – donated by Trever Hill
Sheets and chandelier – HomeGoods
Coverlet and carved wall piece – donated by Designingwomen2
Vintage rug – donated by Melanie Iverson

Room #2: Team “M²K”
Maria Bosak, Eco Chic Home
Monica Hart, Monica Hart Interior Design
Katie Sullivan, Pretty Domesticated

Team M²K settled into a Feminine Guest Room for their room’s theme. “After a lengthy debate, I think the peel and stick wallpaper is what finally helped us determine a color for an accent and the rest fell into place. It was interesting to hear other ideas and see how other designers work,” said Hart.

“The biggest challenge was pulling a whole look together (down to the little details like books and picture frames), on such a modest budget. It would have been easier to simply furnish the room, but we wanted the room to have personalized details and character,” said Sullivan. “We were able to accomplish this by relying heavily on thrifting and donations for those details. My favorite addition was the fresh cut flowers from our yards.”

“Although the biggest challenge was the budget, my favorite aspect was how it turned out – I thought it was so tranquil, functional and pretty. I would stay in that guest room!” said Hart.

Find the Goods!
Bedding set, curtains, curtain rod & removable wallpaper – Target

Wood candle holders & candles – Eco Chic Home

Side table, rug, books, lamp, various vases & misc. decor – thrift stores including Savers & The Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch

Fabric – Joann Fabric

Flowers – Gathered from their yards

Decorative pillows – Eco Chic Home
Gold Side Table – HomeGoods

Chair – Donated by Maria Bosak of Eco Chic Home

Gray throw – donated by Monica Hart Interior Design

Pink throw – purchased from Pier 1 and donated by Monica Hart Interior Design
Art, Books & Vase – Donated by Katie Sullivan


Room #3: The Dream Team

Lindsey Christie, Lindsey Grace Interiors
Amanda Rydell, The White House Co.
Christy Brawner-Riley, Christy Brawner Interiors

Keeping in mind that all of the items would be going to charity, The Dream Team thought outside the box and decided to create a dream-inspired children’s theme. “With Amanda having access to a lot of vintage items that tend to lean towards a feminine feel, we ended up designing a young girl’s room,” said Christie.

“It was honestly so fun getting to know two other women business owners in the area. We had a crash course in teamwork when it came to the timeline, figuring out the best way (and fastest way) to accomplish our goals while being super creative with our budget,” said Christie. “We all have such different personalities and businesses, I feel like we just somehow fell into our prospective roles that made the most sense for how we work.”

On this team, Brawner used her detail-oriented personality to hammer out the task of hanging the temporary wallpaper in a short time frame. Rydell leaned on her creative eye and was able to see items for more than their shelf value, and Christie took on the role of the big picture thinker, envisioning the overall look and feel of the final design.

Find the Goods!
Wallpaper – Target

End table – HomeGoods

Lamp – HomeGoods

Flowers – Love Always Floral

Bedding (sheets) – HomeGoods

Stuffed unicorn – Target

Throw blanket & white fur – Burlington

Art, Dresser, frames, accent pillows, accessories – White House Co.

Stool (under the fur), basket, duvet and cover, accessories – The Arc, Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch
Bookshelf & headboard – thrift store + a fresh coat of paint

Special thanks to the designers who some wonderfully donated their time and decor to the challenge and ultimately, Down Home:

Monica Hart, Katie Sullivan, Melanie Iverson, Amanda Rydell, Christy Brawner-Riley, Lindsey Christie, Maria Bosak, Linda Birmingham and Trever Hill

What is Down Home?
Down Home is a local non-profit that provides furnishings and décor for families transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing. They are based in North Fargo and serve our community through donations of like-new furniture and accessories, monetary donations and volunteers.

For more information about Down Home, contact:
Down Home
2102 12th Street North, Fargo
Find them on Facebook: downhome.org

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Plains Art Museum: Progressive Architecture Dinner [Pelican Lake, Minnesota]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography Imagine touring four spectacular homes on Pelican Lake, visiting with the architects and owners, then being offered an array of drinks…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

Imagine touring four spectacular homes on Pelican Lake, visiting with the architects and owners, then being offered an array of drinks and a spectacular catered course at every stop. This is your look inside Plains Art Museum’s Progressive Architecture Dinner. Join Midwest Nest as we recap their September 8th event which introduced us to an entirely new approach to lake home living, architecture, art and cuisine.

Art + Architecture

A concept dreamed up by Sandy Thompson of Plains Art Museum, this four-home tour is custom designed to introduce the idea of art plus architecture. Along the way, 50 guests were invited to dine on locally prepared fare and admire the space, art and stunning lake views. Although the original plan was to tour via a five-pontoon armada, the day’s wind and whitecaps kept the tour traveling by dry land. Every home’s tour lasted one hour and ended with a conversation between the homeowner and the architect, with an open forum for guests to intervene and inquire. All proceeds from the tour sustain PlainsArt4All, the Museum’s free general admission initiative.


Tour Stop #1: The Dawsons
To kick off the tour, guests arrived at noon to the spectacular home of Georgia and Tom Dawson where the first course of Hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails were served by Chef Jeff Reitz of Urban Foods. Guests were allowed to tour every inch of the home while the architect, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects, offered input regarding the home’s timeless and coastal design.

About the Dawson Home:
Tom Dawson’s grandfather purchased the site in 1958, which is where Dawson was raised. For 17 years, Tom and Georgia Dawson spent their summers in a 900 square-foot cottage near the property, before opting to design their year-round lake home. Nine years ago, they reached out to longtime friends, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects and contractor John Gunkelman, to make their coastal vision a reality. In their first meeting, Georgia Dawson had the entire first floor drawn out on a yellow legal pad, leaving the remainder of the design to Stroh. Taking into account the early drawings, the design needed to include equally beautiful spaces for their growing family.

When in town, the Dawsons reside in a 90-year-old home with dark wood, historic elements. So, for their lakeside retreat, the Dawsons requested the opposite; bright and airy with spacious windows to capture the view. Between their gorgeous regional art collection, pine ceilings, white-washed elements and metal fabrication by P2 Industries, every angle of the Dawson’s home is perfectly molded to embrace life on the water.

Upstairs, the Dawsons display an oversized photo book by the celebrated photographer, Annie Leibovitz. The book contains a collection of photos once featured in Vanity Fair.

From the Architect, Terry Stroh:
“Working with Tom and Georgia was always fun. Their design was more about capturing the outside than anything; they wanted something that had a little more of a Floridian vibe to it. The floor plan was centered around family and creating the spaces that they wanted, not what I wanted for them – that’s really what it’s all about.””We have two houses on the tour, the Dawsons and Schlossman’s and they happen to be best friends. I think any architect would say this; you don’t come out with a great house unless you have a great client – they’re all people with great taste and also kindness.”


“When we first started talking about doing this Progressive Architecture Dinner, something that I had done in California – I sat down with Chris Hawley and asked him if he thought we could do that here. We’d talked about different venues and places that might be interesting, but it was Chris who said, “We have to do the lake. We could do five years of these events just on Pelican Lake.” This is the second year now, and it’s been a joy to put together.”
Sandy Thompson, Plains Art Museum

“I really love the connection that this event creates with architects. Architecture has
a strong relationship with the arts and this gives the architects a chance to really talk about their work in a fun and comfortable setting while building appreciation for their designs. These homes really push people’s sensibilities when it comes to design and many of them have well-curated art collections that we love featuring.”
Andy Maus, Plains Art Museum

Tour Stop #2: The Hansons

The second stop on the tour led us through a home built on the idea of sparking creativity, expanding the view and redefining traditional lake home standards. Welcome to the year-round lake home of Pam and Dave Hanson with the architect, Craig Helenske of Helenske Design Group. This is a creative and cozy home, almost completely devoid of right angles…read on and we’ll explain. At this location, guests were treated to a fall-inspired salad course presented by VIP Chef, Anthony Bachman.

About the Hanson Home:
The Hansons purchased a small cottage on the property in 1987 for a mere $42,500. Hoping to salvage the existing cabin, they explored expansion and renovation options; eventually deciding it was a better investment to start from the ground up. The couple’s year-round lake home was completed four years ago with architect Craig Helenske of Helenske Design Group and contractor, Jon Anderson of Dreambuilder. There were only two prerequisites given to Helenske by Dave Hanson; it was to have a modern cabin feel with no square corners – he just simply doesn’t like them.

For the exterior, Helenske and Hanson opted for a green-black siding to give the home a robust contrast to the environment. They purposefully drifted away from the stereotypical, white and bright lake home. Their version is a simplified farmhouse style with a unique bow element on the front that expands the view from being a narrow 50-foot, to a panoramic view that’s nearly three times the lot’s width. In creating those angles, it allowed the two to shape several interesting environments within the home, like a quiet space for reflection and a separate space for socializing.

As president and CEO of H2M, an advertising agency in Downtown Fargo, Dave Hanson is a creative guru during the workweek and after hours. Throughout the home, guests enjoyed a collection of his own photographic art displayed on the walls. In the back guest quarters, Hanson, who’s also a musician and past sound technician, has his own recording studio located in the upper loft.

From the Architect, Craig Helenske:
“This was very much a collaborative experience between two stubborn creatives. Dave and I worked pretty closely and he had a vision of wanting to have a slatted acoustic, rosewood-style ceiling in here, so that became kind of the icon for the public space. Rather than a traditional lake or cottage-style ceiling that’s overused, the slatting gave the home a unique twist. When you take all of the furniture and people out of here, the home is just sheetrock and paint. It’s really Dave and Pam that put the character in this home, through their art, photography and music background. I was just given an opportunity to present their character through this design.”

“The lake experience is both inside and out; it’s about the wind, finding spaces to enjoy the morning sun – morning, afternoon and evening. There is a lot of opportunity for inside and outside living spaces, and we let those really shape the home. It was a great experience to exchange ideas back and forth and not just communicate ideas to the client. To have somebody that can respond back to you with just as much creative energy makes for a really positive experience.”


Tour Stop #3: The Schlossmans

At our third stop on the tour, guests arrived at the extraordinary summer home of Mary and Bill Schlossman with the architect, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects. For the entree, guests dined on Blackbird Woodfire’s specialty artisan pizzas. Chef Casey Absey and his team brought in their mobile woodfire oven and all were invited to choose one of their tried and true recipes or design their own woodfire masterpiece.

About the Schlossman Home:
Bill Schlossman grew up next door to the existing property, eventually purchasing the adjacent lake lot with small cottage from his brother. When it was time to rebuild, the couple contacted architect Terry Stroh, whom they had previously worked with on the design of their condo, as well as interior designer Lark Lomsdal. To mimic the yesteryear appeal of an authentic cabin or summer home, they opted for a design with more minimally-sized bedrooms and closets, leaving the majority of the square footage for post and beam communal areas.

Working through the details of the design with Stroh, Bill Schlossman had an idea to omit sheetrock in lieu of clear Douglas Fir siding and cedar ceiling beams. This concept would involve a labor-intensive process of perfecting each individual piece of wood, on every wall of the home, with no room for error. Kevin Pagel of Dakota Construction would do the painstaking fabrication with timbers sourced from Pierce Log Homes. Now 12-years old, the home’s extraordinary carpentry has maintained its original beauty and structural quality from day one.

Most of the photos throughout the home were taken by Bill Schlossman himself or influential locals like the late Fred Scheel Senior, a renowned photographer in his day. One treasured photo, framed high into the beams, is a sentimental image which inspired the lake home’s design; a photograph from 1928 with Bill Schlossman’s mother seated at the back of a small row boat, along with his grandfather and uncle.

“We love working with Terry. He originally came up with three different plans, but when we saw this one, it was fabulous,” said Mary Schlossman. “This was a great project for Bill and myself – we found out that we had a lot of similar tastes and it was really fun bringing those ideas to Terry. He found a really interesting book at Walker Art Center that had a lot of this style of house depicted in it and quite a few of our ideas were inspired by what we saw.”

“Working with a great architect like Terry on this project was critical for pulling together our vision,” said Bill Schlossman. “Some people are great designers, but Mary and I, as much as we enjoy looking at different things, can’t put it all together by ourselves. We also worked with an interior designer, Lark Lomsdal – she’s wonderful. She worked with Braaten Cabinets to design all of the cabinetry throughout the home.”

From the Architect, Terry Stroh:
“The whole idea of doing a post and beam structure and the concept of combining that with other conventional construction made this a really fun project. We actually built a model with the contractor, John Gunkelman and he used it during construction because it had every detail within this house. We still have it in our office and we use it to show clients what we can do.”

“As architects, we don’t always get to see the home once it’s lived in, but both the Dawsons and Schlossmans invited us down to see their furnished homes. Seeing what they bring into it and how they use the space, is really what makes it a home.”


Tour Stop #4: The Promersbergers
Our final stop on the Progressive Architecture Dinner did not disappoint. Led down a tree enveloped path, guests were delighted to find brilliance in color and design at the lake home of Jan and Ken Promersberger, with architect Chris Hawley of Chris Hawley Architects. Just when we thought our day could not be any brighter, we were treated to a dessert course, including six different cheesecakes by Pastry Chef Kayla Houchin of Indulgence Baking Co.

About the Promersberger Home:
As owners of The Promersberger Company in Fargo, Ken and Jan have spent the majority of their lives brainstorming creative marketing solutions for clients all across the country. Designing a lake retreat unlike anything else is simply a more personal outlet to foster their creativity. Beyond the barn doors of the agency, they’re known for spearheading a unique farmstead-themed community concept called Rocking Horse Farm; another collaboration with Chris Hawley Architects.

After being on the lake for many years, the couple found this 50-foot lakefront, which they purchased within 15-minutes of walking the lot. They’d always envisioned a white exterior with a high pitch, but once on the lot, Ken Promersberger found a bright Scandinavian design with three offset cubes he needed to explore. Presenting the idea to Hawley, each cube would be in a different primary color and have their own view of the lake. To enhance the concept, Hawley suggested having the roof the same color as the siding, which became a game changer in achieving their Scandinavian exterior. These days, the Promersbergers have heard just about every colorful remark about their home, which is often fondly referred to by neighbor kids and their six grandchildren as the “Lego house” or “Crayola house”.

“The Airstream on the property was part of the site plan from the beginning. It could be used as an extra bedroom, but we just use it as storage. I’ve been in the design business all my life and to me, an Airstream is a piece of art,” said Ken Promersberger.

Surprisingly, the interior of this colorful abode is a stark contrast to what most outsiders would expect. “We knew for sure that we wanted the interior’s style to be minimalistic; we liked the wood and white elements,” said Jan Promersberger. “We’ve always had that style with every house we’ve had. It is kind of a surprise to walk up to the red, yellow and blue, then come inside and see things calm down a bit. Tom Dawson’s son, Mike, is also an architect with Chris and spent quite a bit of time out here – Mike and Chris were both wonderful to work with.”

Within the bright white and pitched ceiling design, the Promersbergers and Hawley incorporated acoustic tiles to absorb and reduce noise in their open-concept floor plan. Their next project is to hang a mobile made entirely of white acoustic tiles.

“We wanted to have a screened-in porch but we didn’t want to lose the depth, so that’s why we have all of these windows that can open. We get quite a breeze through here just by opening the patio doors and a couple of the cubed windows on each side,” explained Ken Promersberger.

Continuing their minimalist lake living, the Promersbergers purposefully left closets out of the design, instead, adopting a more Scandinavian approach of using wardrobes. Interestingly enough, two out of the four featured homes do not have closets; the Hansons also keep their lake life minimalistic.

From the Architect, Chris Hawley:
“Ken sent me a photo of a Scandinavian fishing village that was a group of gables all lined up in different colors; that’s really how this idea got started. The lot is skewed and every cube touches the setback – there’s also a five-foot grade change from front to back. It’s really interesting that every cube has its own zone; one is the public space, one semi-public and one more private. There’s a six-foot offset between the cubes, but we were able to use the same truss all the way through. It was quite the game; anything we did on one side to a cube, we had to do on the other side and stay within the lot line.

“There are a lot of windows, but the way it’s designed, they can see far more outside than other people can see in. The discussion about the window placement and quantity was probably the longest conversation that we had when we were designing the home.”

Naturally, not everyone in the neighborhood fell in love with their creative expression, but one neighbor, who did admire their creative spirits, gifted them with a piece of art that spoke volumes; affirming their decision to keep pushing the boundaries of conventional architecture and design.


Interested in attending the next Progressive Architecture Dinner? 

Sandy Thompson / Director of Development
704 First Avenue North, Fargo

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The Pines by Grain Designs [ Welcome to Wedding #1 ]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Grain Designs cordially invites you to the first wedding at The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue. A lot…

Words by Tracy Nicholson

Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Grain Designs cordially invites you to the first wedding at The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue. A lot has changed since our last issue which outlined the venue’s build and the gorgeous remodel on the property’s poolside home. While last month hammers were swinging, this month, wedding bells are ringing. To celebrate the venue’s opening, the bride and groom, Grain Designs’ own Pat Bresnahan and his wife Nicolette, welcomed our readers to see inside their special day. No need to RSVP, we’ll give you a glimpse of the designer details that made their farmhouse chic wedding day unforgettable.

By nearly all accounts, The Pines first wedding on September 15th was a resounding success. Although the 9,000 square-foot building was not 100 percent complete, the Grain Designs team made sure the bride and groom’s big day was perfection. To get the venue ready, the team worked endless hours with Taylor Belk of Epic Homes, Differding Electric and Zulauf Construction to ensure that the wedding party and 320 guests could celebrate in style.

“It took an army of help and support from friends and family for weeks leading up to the wedding until the ceremony started,” said Blain Mikkonen of Grain Designs. “The entire Grain Designs team and all of our families, including Nicolette’s family, really stepped up and put in extra hours to make the first event at The Pines a great success.” To put the finishing touches on the reception site, Grain Designs handcrafted the new signage, 40 tables, a ceremony pergola and two sliding barn doors suspended between the grain bins. Cafe lights were strung, 600 plus chairs were set in place and the farmyard grounds got a newly landscaped facade.

Field of (their) Dreams

On the property’s 17 acres, there are several designated areas for outdoor wedding ceremonies, but Nicolette and Pat had their hearts set on the field just beyond the grain bins. With a creative twist, the grain bins became the grand entrance and the space between the bins would become both the entrance and a communal space, leading guests to the ceremony site and Grain Designs pergola. For added ambiance, a family friend, Carol Thibeault, used her DIY know-how to suspend a chandelier between the grain bins and custom made Grain Designs barn doors.

“On Friday afternoon, right as we were adding the final décor to the venue, The White House Co. girls showed up in what might as well have been the ‘Magic School Bus’. They quite literally turned our ceremony spot into a magazine-worthy spread by adding a beautiful, vintage seating area, rug and coffee table. Not only was this area functional, but it was so fun seeing guests take pictures in our outdoor living room,” said Nicolette Bresnahan.

Designed to Dine

To complete the venue’s dining decor, Thibeault and a few members of the wedding party came earlier in the week to assist with the final details. “Carol can take anything and either make it useful, pretty or both,” said Nicolette Bresnahan. “She helped me organize the theme and vision for our wedding while keeping our budget in mind. I knew I wanted lots of fresh greenery and she came up with the idea of using Russian Olive Branch—a common tree with full green leaves that are easily found in the area. She hand-picked all of the Russian Olive Branch for centerpieces the day before the wedding, which made the dark stain of the custom Grain Designs’ tables stand out even more.”

“For our floral, Kimberly from Prairie Petals hit the nail on the head. I only explained to her the vision I had for our big day, with no specifics of certain flowers. From the colors to the arrangement, it was perfection. One thing about Kimberly’s work is that it will, without a doubt be completely unique.”


“Although The Pines was not fully complete at the time that we got married, it was still absolutely beautiful,” said Nicolette Bresnahan. “White, board and batten walls and beautifully handcrafted Grain Design tables are just a few things that made it a stand-out space. The tall ceilings and open room are exposed with just the right amount of light.”

Farmhouse Fare

Within the venue, which can accommodate 400 plus for a seated dinner, The Pines offer a prep kitchen for the caterers, provided by Chef’s Table Catering with a full bar set-up. For the venue’s first wedding, the bride and groom chose a more relaxed, buffet-style dinner. “The Swedish meatballs and grilled chicken buffet was fantastic – we got a lot of great feedback from our guests,” said Pat Bresnahan. Those with a sweeter tooth could head to the antique door table for a candy bar of sugary confections.


Bresnahan Wedding Breakdown:

Venue – The Pines

Catering – Chef’s Table Catering

Floral – Prairie Petals, Carol Thibeault

Staged lounges – The White House Co.

Barn door, table and pergola design – Grain Designs
Men’s attire – Halberstadt’s
Dress – Your Day by nicole

Hair and makeup – Anonby Salon

Photographer – M. Schleif Photography


What’s next for The Pines? 

As this issue hits the stands, The Pines will already be back to work, completing the remaining interior finishes, in preparation for wedding number two on October 28. By this date, all of the exterior paneling and concrete slabs will be completed and ready for a whole new guest list. The interior’s finishes will also be completed with classic detailing, as well as exposed beams and white reclaimed wood paneling.

As they head into winter, Grain Designs will be preparing for an upcoming photoshoot, Eco Chic’s Vintage Christmas at The Pines event, and an array of corporate and Christmas parties. Interested in hosting your own event or wedding at The Pines? Make sure to call soon. They are still booking events for this fall, and although there are still a few wedding dates available for 2019, they’re booking up fast. Follow their progress and adventures as they continue to renovate the farmhouse bridal suites and plan for their official, grand opening celebration!

For more information, contact: 

The Pines




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Love It, Not List It [A Modern Farmhouse Remodel by Showplace Cabinetry Design Center]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Travis Beauchene, Studio Three Beau After living in their South Fargo home for 12 years, Tanja and Ryan Goellner decided it was time to…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Travis Beauchene, Studio Three Beau

After living in their South Fargo home for 12 years, Tanja and Ryan Goellner decided it was time to weigh their options; either remodel their outdated floor plan or move on and build new. Eventually, the couple decided to keep their roots planted and let Showplace Cabinetry Design Center in Fargo recreate the heart of their home. Working with cabinetry designers Michaela Fischer and Aubrey Costello, and contractor Chris Denman, the Goellners settled into a modern farmhouse, with functional flow designed for family. Interested in touring the Goellner’s remodel for yourself? Make sure to attend the HBA’s Remodeled Home Tour on October

Investing in Improvement
Built in 1993, the Goellners loved their home within a well-established neighborhood, complete with mature trees and a convenient South Fargo location. What they didn’t love was their golden oak cabinetry and outdated layout, which included too many dark, underutilized and closed-in spaces. At the heart of their home, the family decided on a complete kitchen overhaul, mudroom/laundry room upgrade and remodel to the adjoining formal dining room which rarely got used.

“Instead of throwing money towards specials, we decided to update our home and treat it as an investment,” explained Tanja Goellner. “If we were to buy new, we’d have those specials, along with a lot of other expenses like new window treatments and landscaping; all of those things add up far beyond what the cost of the remodel was.”

Readying for a Remodel
When the Goellner’s started their search for a contractor and designer, they reached out to quite a few different sources, but it wasn’t until they met with South Fargo’s Showplace Cabinetry Design Center that they felt they had a plan they could happily live with.

“Showplace had the best design when I came in and they had a great price point. I had priced out a few different people and the one thing that stood out in my mind the most was that the contractor called me back the next day and showed up at my house. That really kind of sealed the deal for me,” laughed Goellner.

Getting Started
To get the project started, the Goellners had an initial planning meeting to collect each of the room’s measurements with Lead Designer, Michaela Fischer, and Showplace Cabinetry Manager, Aubrey Costello. “We asked for two different designs because my husband really wanted a second option,” said Goellner. “I thought they did a great job of getting us two  floor plans to choose from. This design just seemed to make the most sense, based on the room’s flow, our limited space and door openings.”

At the Heart of the Home
For the kitchen’s overhaul, Tanja Goellner already had a couple of finishes in mind; charcoal grey, glass subway tile and white cabinetry for a more modern farmhouse design. Her golden oak was demoed, walls painted and her existing grey-toned flooring was replaced with a new vinyl plank in warmer tones. To brighten up the space, the ceiling was scraped and recessed can lights were added.

The Goellners kept their existing dishwasher and fridge, only opting to upgrade to a gas stove and drawer microwave in the island. With the help of Fischer, Goellner chose a stunning Carrara Graniti granite for the perimeter and island countertops, along with hidden features like a pull-out knife and utensil organizer, door spice rack, and custom cutlery divider. The original eat-in dining area was then converted to a convenient pantry. To avoid wasted space at the end of the cabinetry, Showplace Cabinetry created a coffee nook and drop zone with a double charging station, using a wrap-around design and decorative doors.

Island Intrigue
Providing the perfect complement to the crisp white and cooler grey tones, Fischer and Goellner chose a cherry wood island in Tawny stain to anchor the space. The island’s layout was specifically designed with an angle to direct the heavy kitchen traffic and create easy flow. With seating for six, the island became even more functional with a lower microwave, positioned in a convenient location so their two teenagers can warm up a snack and not obstruct the everyday flow.

Removing Obstructions
The biggest change came with the removal of a wall that had once been the separation between the kitchen and dining. To make this happen, they included a wider beam at the top of the wall where the HVAC would then be relocated. The new accent wall was given a rustic shiplap finish with reclaimed wood sourced from Dakota Timber Company.

“Taking out that wall gave the space a lot more natural light,” said Costello. “I love how open and bright it is and how you can really see the whole space now. Scraping the ceiling texture and adding in the recessed can lights also made a huge difference.”

Designed to Dine
Removing the wall granted the Goellners newfound access to their once unused, formal dining room. This would be the perfect opportunity to convert the space into a more casual dining area with a closer connection to the kitchen.

In the new dining room, Fischer and Goellner chose Pure White, built-in cabinetry with seeded glass accents, the same charcoal grey subway tile and symmetrical wine storage. “I knew I wanted a buffet in the dining room because you can see how the two walls notch out on each side – so there’s this goofy space there; filling that was one of the goals,” said Goellner. “I was originally thinking just lower cabinets for this space, but I’m glad Michaela and Aubrey had suggested the upper cabinetry and wine storage, tying in the finishes from the kitchen.”

Organizing Chaos
With two teenagers at home, the Goellner’s mudroom and laundry room combo had become a major family problem. Fischer’s challenge would be to create a more functional space with custom cabinetry, coat hooks and a bench in the mudroom area – then multifunctional storage between the entry and laundry. The space came with a linen and coat closet, but with piles of clothes residing near the door, it was not readily used.

“Where you see the laundry baskets now, that was where the closet was, but it didn’t provide the ease of use like the open basket system,” said Goellner. “There was a huge folding table that came out of the closet and took up half of the entry with cupboards above it.” Creating a more appealing space, Fischer tied in the kitchen cabinetry finishes within the new bench and mudroom system, giving the room a seamless flow from either space.

Ahead of Schedule
Based on past construction projects, the Goellners had assumed this project, including all three rooms, would take anywhere from six to eight weeks. To their surprise, the Showplace Cabinetry team and C&N Remodeling were able to complete all three ahead of schedule. “Everything happened pretty quickly, we were only out of our kitchen for about five weeks – that was it,” said Goellner. “Their process was amazing. Michaela and Aubrey were great to work with and the contractor would take extra time to make sure everything was getting done; he’d ask every morning and end of the day if I had any questions or concerns,” said Goellner. “It was really reassuring for us to know his schedule and what was going on throughout the entire process.”

Find the Finishes:
Kitchen Designer – Michaela Fischer, Showplace Cabinetry Design Center
Contractor – Chris Denman, C&N Remodeling
Cabinetry – Showplace Cabinetry
Flooring – Armstrong Rigid Core Farmhouse Plank, Carpet Garage
Lighting, sink & plumbing fixtures – Ferguson’s Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Reclaimed wood wall – Dakota Timber Company
Wall paint – March Winds, Sherwin Williams

Finishes from Showplace Cabinetry Design Center:
Countertops – Carrara Graniti granite
Island & laundry room wood top – Pendelton, Cherry Tawny
Perimeter bar & laundry – Pendleton Wide, Paint Grade Pure White
Hardware – Hafele in brushed nickel, Cosmopolitan Collection
Backsplash Tile – American Olean Color Appeal in Charcoal Gray 3×6

For more information, contact:
Showplace Cabinetry Design Center
Michaela Fischer, Design & Sales
2553 Kirsten Lane South, Suite 201, Fargo

To tour the Goellner’s Remodel:
HBA Remodeled Home Tour / October 6-7, 2018
Noon – 5:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

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Rebuilding Life & Home

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Adjusting to life as a single mom, homeowner Heidi Henegar decided to rebuild her life and home with a builder she…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Adjusting to life as a single mom, homeowner Heidi Henegar decided to rebuild her life and home with a builder she knew she could trust. Working with Katie Kern and Amanda Voss of the Jordahl Custom Homes team, Henegar and her two young sons made a smooth transition into a 1,913 square-foot split-level with a contemporary twist. For Henegar, this would mark her second build with the Jordahl team and a second chance at offering her family a fresh start. To see inside her modern approach to the traditional split-level living, we headed to South Moorhead’s Stonemill Estates.

“I had looked at several different homes, existing and new construction when in the process of deciding what my next move was, but nothing quite felt right or I didn’t find myself being 100 percent confident in my decision,” explained Henegar. On a search for the right fit last fall, Henegar decided to go to a couple of open houses and the minute she stepped into a Jordahl Custom Homes model home, she knew it was perfect floor plan for her new life and two sons.

Embracing the New Normal
At the time Henegar decided to build with Jordahl, she was recently divorced and had been living in her parent’s basement for about six months with her two sons, Ryder 6, and Brody 3 – along with their 50-pound labradoodle named Remy. “My parents are saints,” laughed Henegar. “Within the same year, I left a company I had been with for 10 years and started working for AVEDA. Needless to say, I had a few changes going on in life. My ultimate goal was and will always be to provide my boys with a house they would be proud to call theirs. I wanted them to feel comfortable in a place they loved coming home to. Mainly, I wanted to be able to get things back to our new normal as soon as possible for them and myself.”

“It’s her second build with us, so she’s more of a friend and we had that personal relationship with her. Knowing her story and what she had been going through, we really wanted to make sure the process was smooth,” said Jordahl Custom Homes Director of Design, Katie Kern. “Since she was downsizing, we wanted to maximize closet space so we shifted some things around to give her a larger master closet. She also really wanted a feature wall in the living room, so we customized the plans to give her a beautiful space with floating shelves and a fireplace.”

“Heidi has great style, so our team worked hard to make sure we were able to give her the things that she really wanted,” said Amanda Voss, New Home Sale Consultant at Jordahl Custom Homes. “To stay within budget though, we used an electric fireplace versus gas. We still get the effect, but it’s much more affordable and takes up less space.”

Modernizing the Bi-Level
Henegar chose The Walsh layout which is a modern approach to the traditional split-level. These days, when we hear the word split-level, we often think of tiny, closed-in entries with stairs that are far too abundant. Today, Jordahl Custom Homes has taken huge strides to redefine split-level homes, yet still keep the design cost-efficient and high functioning. Simple modernizations include white trim and doors, vaulted ceilings, spacious entries and a more open-layout stairwell design. Beyond the floorplan, clever design elements fuse fun accent walls, floating shelves, grey-toned alder cabinetry and rustic, wood-look laminate flooring.

“My ultimate goal was and will always be to provide my boys with a house they would be proud to call theirs. I wanted them to feel comfortable in a place they loved coming home to.”
Heidi Henegar, homeowner

Building a New Life
Thrilled to eliminate some of the heftier out-of-pocket expenses, Henegar’s build would include appliances, a deck and a finished lawn. As an added bonus for building with Jordahl Custom Homes a second time, Henegar would receive a repeat builder promotion, which solidified her decision. “I had such a wonderful experience building with them the first time around and all the circumstances aligning made me feel like this was what I had been waiting for,” said Henegar. “I trusted that going through the experience again with Jordahl would be just as good, if not better the second time around.”

At the Heart of the Home
Choosing a handful of upgrades, Henegar’s kitchen design incorporates a five-foot alder island with quartz countertops and a six-foot overhang. Built-in wine storage, oversized subway tile and an adjacent formal dining room overlook the deck and backyard.
Just beyond the kitchen is the laundry room and master suite with a walk-in closet. To find the home’s beautiful mixed-metal accents and whimsical messages, Henegar frequents stores like Target, HomeGoods and TJ Maxx.

Second Time’s the Charm
“I loved building with Jordahl a second time, and I will probably do it a third time, but not for a long time – famous last words,” laughed Henegar. “I went into the process a lot more confident and knew what to expect with the process. I had a good idea of the aesthetic and the feel I wanted for my home. Since I had worked with Amanda and Katie prior, I felt super comfortable asking questions and appreciated greatly their suggestions and opinions. They were also a tremendous help in personalizing the actual floor plan of the house to make it the most functional. They pointed out things I would have never thought of that I am so happy we changed after living here for a few months.”

Downsize to Upgrade
For Henegar and her two sons, this move would mean a major downsize, so her design and layout would have to be high-functioning and efficient to suit her busy lifestyle. She also wanted to add upgrades and customizations that would make her smaller home feel more upscale while adding in plenty of character. “I had my list of wants and tons of Pinterest pins for inspiration. I had those initial must-haves priced out and then decided on what upgrades I really needed,” said Henegar. “My boys and their tendency for being rough and wild also came into play when making selections, along with neighborhood and location of schools.””Budget with this home was more important and top of mind than ever before so, I had to be super conscious of that. I loved that the team knew my situation and my priorities and priced out as many options as possible or suggested different alternatives to what I was looking for,” said Henegar. “They were also super patient and attentive during the whole process which was amazing to have that support.”

Love on the Lower Level
Downstairs, each of Henegar boys has their own room with plenty of square footage to keep their toys at bay. To maintain the tidiness upstairs, the boys have a designated play area centered around the large sofa downstairs; the only piece of furniture that represents their old life. “One of the rules that we made when we moved in here, was that there would be no toys upstairs,” explained Henegar. “I really made a big deal about emphasizing that the lower level was their space.”

Post-Build Perfection
“I have never loved a house I lived in more. This home represents so many things for the boys and myself, a fresh start, new beginnings and ultimately the idea that if you work hard to get to where you want to be, anything is possible,” said Henegar. “This home has solidified to me that the happiest spaces don’t have anything to do with size, it is loving the people that you share it with. For me, seeing the vision and process of this home coming together was amazing, not only for the physical appearance but also knowing that this is where amazing memories would be made with the two boys I love more than anything in the world. I am so thankful I put my trust in Jordahl to help us not only transition into a new home but into a completely new life.”

Find the Finishes:
Interior Designer – Katie Kern, Jordahl Custom Homes
Flooring – Laminate, vinyl and carpet, Carpet World
Tile – 4×12 Glossy White subway tile, Carpet World
Cabinetry – Antique Slate – stained knotty alder, SWI Interiors
Wall Color – Repose Gray, Sherwin Williams
Countertops – Iced White quartz – Granites UnlimitedFor more information, contact:
Jordahl Custom Homes
4802 Amber Valley Parkway, Fargo

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[ Picture Perfect ] Incorporating Family Photos into Design

Words by Audra Mehl – Grace 1972 Photography by M. Schleif Photography   Black and white canvas is always a classic/you can’t go wrong/timeless approach. It doesn’t matter what color…

Words by Audra Mehl – Grace 1972
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Black and white canvas is always a classic/you can’t go wrong/timeless approach. It doesn’t matter what color shirt anyone was wearing that day, by changing a print to black and white you ensure the image will mesh with your design for decades, making it truly timeless. Canvas prints, which add dimension and texture to your design, are becoming more reasonable all the time and easy to order right from your phone off a variety of websites.

[Tip for Canvas Prints]
Be sure the image has a high enough resolution when ordering a larger print to avoid blurry results. Large canvas prints are a great option for professional digital images, smaller prints do not require high resolution and candid shots from a standard smartphone typically come out very crisp. 

You’ll see a lot of black and white scattered throughout my home to keep things timely from a decor perspective. It’s my go to. My favorite display includes prominent headshots of our daughters in a gallery configuration down our stairwell along with a few favorites from our wedding. (I also confess, black and white is forgiving. My husband and I were in our 40’s when we got married so I’ll just admit now that my name is Audra and filters are my friends.) In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a color image of me on display in my home. My descendants may be confused about what era in which great grandma actually lived but I’m ok with that.

Tip for Hanging Photos

Photos are treated like artwork in home design, and the rule of thumb for hanging artwork in your home is it should always be hung either at eye level or just above it. Avoid hanging your photos too high or too low, eye level should always be your guide.

In addition to displaying black and white favorites on our walls, I have several framed family photos scattered throughout every room in our home. My kids are pretty much grown now, so displaying photos from their childhood is a lot of fun – I love showing off photos from all their different ages and stages. And of course, picture frames are the perfect way to pull a room’s color scheme together. Use them to draw out any accent colors you’re using or simply stick to the color scheme of your space with your frame choices. You’ll note that all my frames are consistent with the colors in the rest of my home: neutrals, whites, and blue or green pastels. By choosing frames that compliment your color scheme, your family’s story is showcased proudly.

Tip for Framed Photos

Over the years, if I have chosen to replace a framed photo with an updated photo I never remove the old photo from the frame. I simply put the new photo over the old. This keeps the old photo safe and creates a fun time capsule to rediscover later. I just recently found some great Easter photos of my daughters I’d forgotten about in a frame I’ve had for years.

If you’re struggling a bit with how to incorporate your favorite photos into your home’s design, these suggestions will have you well on your way. And of course, always remember that there are no hard and fast rules for home decor – just guidelines. Your home is yours and how you decorate, display and live in it is up to no one else but you. So go ahead and cover that fridge with all your favorite faces and pound those nails down the hall where you like them best. Because ultimately if you love it, then it’s perfect.

It’s home.

Happy decorating!

Audra Mehl

Owner/Designer behind Grace 1972 Design

Visit me on Facebook, Instagram or my Design Blog: 

Facebook: Grace 1972 Design

Instagram: @_grace_1972_

Blog: www.audramehl.net

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[ Anna Lee – Workerby ] Finding Grace in the Gray

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Logo and behind the scenes photos by Kylee and Christian Creative, Lauren Krysti In 2016, Fargo native Anna Lee said goodbye…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography
Logo and behind the scenes photos by Kylee and Christian Creative, Lauren Krysti

In 2016, Fargo native Anna Lee said goodbye to her St. Paul abode and moved back to the area, leaving behind a plethora of accomplishments in her wake. Since her college days at MSUM and NDSU, she had spent 16 years working in the fashion industry in various capacities, ranging from independent start-ups to a major retailer. Beyond the corporate world, she had spearheaded a non-profit which laid the foundation for a thriving independent fashion community and industry in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and developed her line of hats and accessories. Today, Lee with her company Workerby (pronounced worker-bee), has taken over an 800 square-foot studio near the Red River in Moorhead. This is the space and place that would help her to redefine her artistry and rediscover community. With a renewed purpose that’s taken her back to her roots and ultimately, her love of abstract painting, Lee would find brilliance between the lines with her exhibit “Homecoming”, now on display at Luna in South Fargo.

Lee’s work as an artist and expert in product design and development in fashion and accessories, has allowed her to live a life that has taken her around the world. Both large corporations and independent companies readily embraced her technical skills and ability to blend them with creative vision.

After spending much of her life working amidst the fast pace of fashion and manufacturing, Lee had begun to feel lethargic and less enthused about the role that had once inspired her. Upon reconnecting with an old friend in her hometown of Fargo, it seemed that finding love and planting new roots was just be the inspiration she was missing.

At the Heart of Art
One year before making the decision to return to Fargo-Moorhead, Lee founded her company Workerby, with a vision to remotely continue her work in product design and development. “I knew that I was going to be living here – it’s something that would allow me to maintain my career and grow it in ways that I really wanted to and still be located in the same city as my partner and his kids,” said Lee. “Getting to know them was really important to me, instead of being off in another city. I can create all I want, but without that connection to the people I really care about, it’s a lot more difficult.” Although Lee experienced a fair share of challenges in her transition, she quickly adjusted her perspective and embraced her roots.

Two years after moving back to her hometown, Lee has found her place in life again and rebuilt the community that surrounds and supports her. Working out of her Moorhead studio, she still manages product design for global manufacturing and retail clients, but being able to be near the people she loves has helped her creative energy flourish. She’s also still producing Ruby3, the celebrated brand of hats that she has been handcrafting for nearly two decades.
The Homecoming
“Around the time I started getting ready to move back to Fargo, I started painting again – but it was coming out in these abstract paintings that were unlike anything else I’d ever done; I was painting my emotions,” said Lee. “I was trying to get in touch with my emotions, but I didn’t have words for them. It wasn’t as if I was just angry, it was just a time that I was trying to synthesize a lot of different things.””When I moved to Minneapolis in my 20s, I thought ‘OK, now these are my people’. So many opportunities, so much possibility, so many like-minded people. Now that I have returned home, I realize that these are my people too,” said Lee. “By some miracle, I am painting again after over a decade. I am making prettier pictures than ever, but now I have plenty to say. For the first time in ages, I am creating because I can’t not create. I am back on the soil I was planted in, and here I am being me.”

Pull Quote
“For the first time in ages, I am creating because I can’t not create.”
Anna Lee, Workerby

Collective Creativity
Pointing to a styled photo of a model with an abstract painting backdrop, Lee explained that the piece behind her is from the debut Gray Matter collection. To give it new life, she decided to ‘chop it up’. “The interesting thing about that painting is that the foundation of it was a piece of art that I made 20 years ago,” said Lee. “Something I’ve been doing is going over a lot of my old art and ridding it of any preciousness and turning it into something new.”

With the idea of projecting healing powers into her art, Lee has found solace in developing a series she refers to as “Collective Paintings”. These paintings are created as a whole but are meant to be given or purchased as individual, mini abstracts. “We all have individual contributions to the greater whole. I use my art to make one big statement and everybody pulls a different piece of it for his or her own, something that makes sense to them,” explained Lee. “Recently, I did two larger canvases and gave them to a bride and groom – so it was one painting together, but two separate canvases. They had the paintings up during their reception, then they were able to give prints of the art to the wedding party. I also recently made a painting that I turned into a textile that is being used in a wedding dress. So, the painting itself was a gift to the bride, then the fabric is being used in her dress.”

Art + Fashion
For Lee, bridging the gap between art and fashion meant finding purpose in the middle ground. “Growing up in this area, I kind of had this inherent need for art to be functional so I always had this inner turmoil about just making pretty things,” explained Lee. “Now, as I start to develop more intention with my work and different directions, to me, the beauty of the work is what draws people in and the intention is the function or message of whatever collection I’m putting together.”

Embracing the Middle Ground
Two years ago, Lee ventured to Australia to hone her craft of millinery at a conference where she would learn new techniques in design. While searching social news feeds back home, she would come across a tragic event that would change the course of her craft. This was the week of the Philando Castile shooting and she was watching it unfold from two hemispheres away.As she scrolled through the endless feeds, she was struck with people’s raw emotion response and a backlash that she struggled to understand. “It broke my heart. One thing that was really shocking and frustrating to me was that there was an argument about whether it was a tragedy or not. It just hit me that we are so polarized that there is so little that we can agree on; something that’s clearly a tragedy seems to polarize people even further and that should not be the case,” said Lee. “What’s actually going to bring us together? How do we find the middle ground?”

Gray Matter Series
Focusing on channeling her emotions, Lee withdrew into her work. Trying to perfect her free-form techniques using felt, she began to notice that its design was emulating what she explained as “brain-like” ripples. “It all just came together in this moment of finding the gray in between black and white,” said Lee. “It was turning into this gray matter of a brain – so that’s how my Gray Matter Series collection began. It was created to start a conversation about finding the middle ground – because I knew it was bigger than this event, however tragic it was. I blocked this hat during the same conference and it took just under a year to figure out exactly what to do with it.”

Symbolic Revolution
Last year, she would find its purpose when The Rourke Art Museum held a Midwestern Invitational with a ‘Revolution’ theme. This exhibit was the platform Lee needed to expose the community to the conversation behind the Gray Matter Series of hats. “This was a type of headdress that was worn in pre-revolution Russia that denoted a female’s status. You wouldn’t think it was a revolution piece by looking at it, but the underpainting is basically my rage – I painted over that rage and vulnerable emotion in yellow, which represented her shield,” explained Lee.

After the invitational, Lee would take her collection of hats away from the canvas but carry the billowing, yellow fabric within them as a continuing symbol of the tragedy, her responsive rage and ultimately, her shield. As a self-taught milliner, this would mark her first attempt at marrying her painting and her textile design.

Artistic Collaboration
Representing one of the first Gray Matter Series collaborations before returning to Fargo, Lee’s studio displays 12 Kentucky Derby-inspired fascinators and hats she designed with Kentucky-born illustrator, Allegra Lockstadt. Each hat was created to capture the essence of one of the past Triple Crown Winners, paired with a hand-drawn illustration of the horse and jockey. To complete this project, entitled A Horse of a Different Color: Triple Crown Winners, Lee worked closely with a team of talent, including photographer Lauren Krysti, model Carla Alexandra Rodriguez and stylists Fatima Olive and Catlin Westin.

Dismantling Janteloven
For Lee, the  Gray Matter Series would evolve into a hat collection, a film, and a 50-piece painting inspired by the Law of Jante, a concept that author and performer Kari Tauring had once told her about. “There are ten unspoken rules in the Law of Jante (Janteloven) in Scandinavian communities.” You’re not to think you are anything special. You’re not to think you’re as good as us. You’re not to think you are smarter than us. You’re not to convince yourself you are better than us…and the list goes on.

“It was meant to keep us humble as a community, but instead it keeps us bound by the limitations of our surroundings. This work of art encourages conversation, awareness, and a new thought when it comes to supporting the individual and their unique contributions to a vibrant, inclusive and thriving community.”

In an effort to evolve the dynamic, the following words were painted on the foundation of this painting, made possible by the support of The Arts Partnership:

“We are special. We are all good. We are brilliant and are imagining an inspiring future where all can thrive. We benefit from new ideas an innovations in our communities. We each have important contributions to make. We can find humor in the human experience and in ourselves. We are all cared for and cherished for who we are. We each have knowledge and stories to share. We can be seen for who we are. We can see others for who they are.”

Sense of Place
After the debut collection, Lee would go on to create a more whimsical collection entitled, Sense of Place. The painting and hat collection is inspired by time spent with her sister and niece on Long Island, New York.

Lee’s series of ocean-inspired paintings evolved into a grant from The Arts Partnership to create scarves from her artwork, helping her to build up her textile skills. “I had four prints in four sizes. I sold those along with the hats and two custom lipsticks, Ruby and Rosa, that I developed with the cosmetics company Elixery. Rosa’s the name of my niece.”

Sense of Self
Gathering her observations, Lee struck another note in her Gray Matter Series: Sense of Self. “Sense of Self is about the heroine’s journey or another take on the hero’s journey, a natural story arc for a lot of mythologies, movies and action-adventures,” explained Lee. With this collection, she would analyze the anatomy of her mind, learning to portray humans for what they are – a constant process of deconstruction and reconstruction.

Musical Muses
As Lee dissected the process, she listened to the appropriately titled, Deconstruction by The Eels. This is the song she is working to gain copyright on to use as the backdrop for her four-minute film which she wrote and directed. “I think this process is something that everyone can connect to –  she is trying so hard to pull it together and the chaos is overwhelming,” explained Lee regarding her film. “But it doesn’t have to be if we understand what is happening, and how to seek what we truly need.” For Lee, it’s about falling apart and rebuilding stronger, taking away the stigma of struggle and mental health – reintroducing this chaos as simply part of being human where it’s encouraged to seek help from those around us.

“There’s a natural progression of dismantling all of the things that you think are you, but don’t feel like they are – then consciously rebuilding who you are. My goal for this next project is to start building a conversation around the deconstruction and reconstruction of our lives as a natural process where we can ask for help and support others.”

Purpose + Perfection
Throughout every collection, Lee continues to build on the idea of merging fashion and art as well as product with a purpose. “Color and shape and emotions are what draw people in,” said Lee. “In the past, those are things that I would have tried to use to build a perfect portrait, but now I just want to express an emotion and a feeling and see if people connect with that. Instead of trying to make things perfect, I’m just trying to make things real – finding perfection within that, wherever I can.”

Launching with Luna
Although one collective painting from the latest collection is already on display at Luna in Fargo, her official launch for the Sense of Self film and hat collection will be on September 8 in Minneapolis and September 15 at Luna. The location is meaningful to Lee; the last solo show she created was in 1997, also at Luna. This time, her solo show will be entitled ‘Homecoming’.

Speaking Out
During the artist’s talk, Lee will debut her film and speak regarding the concept of deconstruction and reconstruction, investigating the role of the heroine’s journey, its impact on our mental health and our ability to connect. The film and photographs feature the AW2018 collection of one-of-a-kind Ruby3 hats, two 25-piece “collective” paintings, two digitally printed scarves derived from these paintings, and two custom lipstick colors from the Elixery.

“An artist talk will feature a panel discussion with women in the community who are doing the work to keep us connected, empowered, and engaged with the work that needs to be done to deepen our Sense of Self, while establishing that we are not alone on our respective journeys,” explained Lee.

“September is Suicide Awareness month, so a portion of my sales from the show will go to NAMI Minnesota; the National Alliance for Mental Illness. For me, this is really about using art for a cause, but it’s also my business, so I am selling the work, but I’m doing it in a way that I can keep doing the work,” said Lee.

Meet the Artist: Anna Lee
Whether you want to have an extraordinary culinary experience amongst fine art, learn about Lee’s artistic process, or help donate to a worthy cause – Lee’s show, entitled ‘Homecoming’, is a must-see for those in search of a more beautiful middle ground.

“Homecoming” Exhibit 

Artist Talk and Gray Matter Series Launch: September 15, 2018
1:00 p.m – 3:00 p.m.
Luna Fargo –
1545 South University Drive, Fargo


The Gray Matter Series is concurrent with Lee’s show, “Homecoming” running through September 29 at Luna. The event is free and open to the public. 

Shop and find local workshops:

View her collections and blog:



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The Pines by Grain Designs [ Countdown to Wedding #1 ]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography, renderings by Grain Designs, Transparent venue image by Exposure Creative Group In our last story introducing The Pines, we captured the…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography, renderings by Grain Designs, Transparent venue image by Exposure Creative Group

In our last story introducing The Pines, we captured the guys of Grain Designs swinging golf clubs on a grassy plot of land, slated for their new venue, just South of Fargo. This month, we revisited the crew and instead found them swinging hammers on a framed-in, concrete foundation. By mid-September, 17 acres of rural beauty will be transformed into The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue, unlike anything you can imagine. The clock is officially ticking and this countdown ends with an “I do”.

With their very first wedding booked for September 15, the guys of Grain Designs are hard at work finalizing the construction for The Pines and finishing the remodel of the adjacent home on the property. Fittingly, the first couple to get hitched at The Pines will be Grain Design’s own, Pat Bresnahan and his fiancé, Nicolette Berge.

Wrapping up Construction
“We are focused on getting the venue wedding-ready before that date, but we know we will still have a few construction projects to finish afterward,” said Bresnahan. “The things that won’t be done for our own wedding will most likely be aesthetic projects. We have another wedding booked for the end of October, so, without question, we will have any remaining work wrapped up by mid-October. The most exciting part right now is actually seeing the building start to come together and being able to see how grand the space is. It’s one thing to talk about how it’s going to be 35 feet to the peak, but then you stand in there and it’s just amazing to experience.”

Inside The Pines
The Pines is designed to be almost 9,000 square-feet and will accommodate 350 plus for a seated dinner. The interior is slated for a clean and classic white with black detailing and rustic, reclaimed wood elements. Design elements will include exposed beams, white reclaimed wood paneling, farmhouse windows and exposed concrete floors. Within the venue, they will offer a prep kitchen for the caterers provided by Chef’s Table Catering, full bar set-up, outdoor patio and private men and women’s restrooms. The venue will be equipped for year-round use and have capabilities to accommodate outdoor ceremonies, with ample space to move indoors in inclement weather. There will also be designated areas for outdoor wedding ceremonies and a patio for cocktail hour with an on-site bar and yard games.”On the Grain Designs side, we are in the process of building sliding barn doors and 60 tables for the venue right now,” said Bresnahan. “One of the unique challenges for us was building actual farmhouse tables, but with foldable or collapsible legs.”

Nicolette + Pat
As the first wedding at The Pines, both Berge and Bresnahan have delved into the project, offering their talents to nearly every aspect. The couple has been living in the property’s home for the past few months, taking on the bulk of the redecorating and renovations, while in the midst of planning their nuptials. Berge, who is already an event planner by day, has lent her talents to give tours of the property and venue every Thursday night. She has also managed the redecorating and new finishes that have gone into the house renovations. Since the house sits adjacent to where the venue is being built, this on-site bridal retreat has been prepped and primed for wedded bliss.


Welcome Home to The Pines
If you book a wedding or event at The Pines, the on-site home with in-ground pool is one amenity you don’t want to miss. Inside the home, the wedding party will be welcomed to relax, hang out by the backyard, in-ground pool and prepare for their big day. As part of the wedding package, couples can choose to rent the house for the day or for the weekend. “With the weekend wedding package, the families will be able to host the groom’s dinner on Friday, ceremony on Saturday, then the gift opening and brunch on Sunday,” explained Blain Mikkonen of Grain Designs.


Retreat Remodel
Starting on the exterior, the Grain Designs team updated the outdated features and painted the home a farmhouse blue by Magnolia. The in-ground pool, decks and patios have been spruced up and more landscaping and signage is about to go in. “We already moved three pine trees into the center corridor near the house. This area will have retaining wall blocks, floral and landscaped areas to create a setting or backdrop for pictures,” said Grant Koenig of Grain Designs.”Before” photo:

Moving inside the home, Berge tapped into her own design skills and played off of the farmhouse vibe they’d already envisioned for the venue’s space. “I wanted to do a farmhouse style without screaming farmhouse – so more of a modern farmhouse with a simple, bohemian look,” explained Berge.
“I found a lot of the decor pieces at Moorhead Antique Mall and of course there are pieces from Grain Designs like the farmhouse dining table and centerpiece candle block. I also purchased pillows like the blush peach one in the family room from my friend at Olove Design; they are available at Etsy.com.”Over the course of three days, Berge and Grain Designs collaborated with Brushed Interiors to complete the main floor’s master bath renovation. Making use of the existing textured wall covering, Brushed Interiors gave the retro design a fresh look with a light and bright tone before she moved on to refinish the outdated oak cabinetry in a cool grey tone.

Giving the older home modern appeal, Grain Designs custom-designed a beautiful wall mirror and vanity top, then installed updated lighting, plumbing fixtures, trim and sleek new flooring. “Ashley Bakkegard of Brushed Interiors did a great job with the main floor bathroom paint and cabinetry refinish. Nicolette and I, along with some of our friends, helped paint throughout the home,” said Bresnahan.

Pat, Nicolette & friends helped with interior painting. Brushed Interiors did all bathroom painting

Just around the corner…
Just beyond the newly updated main-floor bath, the master bedroom and spare bedroom are nearly completed and will be featured in our final showing in October’s issue. The kitchen, which only needed minimal updates to its cherry wood facade, will be getting simple cosmetic upgrades like new lighting and decor.

Bridal Party Bliss
Right now, the upstairs has two bedrooms and a full bath, but this is the area that will soon have the most dramatic transformation. This will be a private bridal suite to accommodate the bride and her party. The downstairs will also be undergoing a change, turning the large space into sleeping quarters with a game room and a man cave for the groom and his party. “There is a separate entrance to the downstairs, so the groom and groomsmen will be able to come and go without seeing the bridal party. A lot of this renovation will take place this coming winter and hopefully, be ready by spring,” said Bresnahan.

Find the Finishes:
Interior wall paint & bathroom paint finishes – Brushed Interiors

Home decor – Nicolette Berge
Exterior paint – Hirshfield’s Vermont Slate (Similar to Magnolia Signature)
Vintage accessories & furniture – Moorhead Antique Mall
Dining table and candle block – Grain Designs
Bathroom paint and cabinetry refinish – Brushed Interiors


Booking the Big Day
Berge will continue to offer personal tours of The Pines every Thursday for brides and grooms who want to ponder the property. “We’ve had a lot of interest from companies regarding corporate events, but peak wedding season for 2019 and even 2020 are filling much quicker than we anticipated. We’ve had a healthy mix of both Friday and Saturday events, but Saturdays are definitely the more popular choice,” said Berge.”So far, everyone is doing the day package which includes being able to make use of the house from 8:00 a.m. on their wedding day to the start of their reception. For my own wedding, I’m having the hairstylist come to the house where the bridal party will be. I think there’s appeal in having everyone come to you instead of having your bridal party go from place to place on your wedding day. That can really eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress.”


Catered Cuisine
Chef’s Table Catering is The Pines exclusive caterer and they’re also helping to get the kitchen properly equipped. “If someone requests a different caterer, they can certainly do that; they would just have to pay an ‘outsider caterer fee’ to use the space and equipment for that event,” said Koenig.

Collaborate & Design
“We are working with Taylor Belk of Epic Homes to complete The Pines building. We’re also working with Rhet Fiskness of Rhet Architecture – he executed the construction documents for the official, stamped drawings. Then Grant and I created the 3-D model based on Rhet’s floor plan and completed the renderings,” said Mikkonen.

“Trever Hill Design is helping us with all of the interior finishes and fixtures. We’re really trying to accent the bathrooms. They’re going to be really unique – something that people haven’t seen yet,” said Koenig. “We’re doing huge 2×4-foot tiles on the wall and long, farmhouse-style sinks. We’re also building a permanent bar in the venue. Having the White House Co. stage for Pat and Nicolette’s wedding will be great – I think their style and aesthetic really fits the venue and vibe, so I’m sure we’ll be working with them a lot.”

Setting the Outdoor Scene
When it comes to outdoor weddings, The Pines’ 17 acres offers endless possibilities. “When I give tours, I tell brides about the different options that what we have in mind; but the great thing is, we can do whatever you want – this is your day and this is an experience, it doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter version of a wedding,” said Berge. “We are planning to use that opening in the grain bins as a sort of aisle for our wedding. Guests will walk through the Grain Designs barn doors in between the grain bins and they will enter an outdoor living room scene staged by White House Co. with an outdoor rug, chandelier, lamps and vintage sofas. Back behind the bins between the field and trees is such a beautiful area for the ceremony and it’s really protected well from the wind.”

“An on-site pergola will be available for all brides to use, however, they’ll have the option to have Grain Designs build them a custom pergola, which after the wedding can be broken down into a queen size bed headboard,” explained Berge. “That’s one of our à la carte options along with a few other options like the wood and metal monogram signs, that guests can sign instead of a traditional guestbook.”

“We also are working on building fire pits and new walking paths through the trees with a procession area where the bride and party can walk through the house and down the stairs leading to the ceremony. We’ll have two designated, outdoor spots where ceremonies can take place, but wherever people want to get married on the property, we can try to accommodate,” said Berge.


Sneak Peek from the Designer: Trever Hill
To get an advanced peek into their collaboration with Trever Hill Design, we asked Hill to share a few of the finishes and fixtures you’ll soon find at The Pines.

“When Grain Designs asked me to be the designer on the project, I was so honored. I look up to them as being cutting-edge and always on trend,” said Hill. “I needed to execute their vision, but I also wanted to put a spin on the average venue space; doing our best to not use the same lighting and design elements as other venues. The Pines has a refined farmhouse feel that everyone will feel at home with.”

“The men’s bathroom, for example, will have a large format tile that has an appearance of steel. Above that tile, will be a woven grasscloth wallpaper. The sink that was chosen for both bathrooms is by Kohler, and we loved that the base can be custom painted to your liking,” explained Hill. “In the men’s restrooms, we are painting the base black with a textured black brick behind the main vanity. In the women’s we are painting the base of the sink a beautiful, blush pink with large format tile in a Calcutta marble look and a metallic wallcovering with a mirrored effect.””When you walk into the entryway of the venue you’ll be greeted with a beautiful, black chain chandelier hanging over a marble tabletop with a black iron base. Off in the distance will be a custom pergola connecting the front entryway to the main hall,” said Hill.


“The accent chairs from Eco Chic Home, table and chain chandelier are all for the entryway,” said Hill. “We chose a long vanity light for the men’s bathroom along with the sconces. To keep the refined, farmhouse feel, I found the shaded sconces with black, matte finish to go in the main hall with the diamond shaped chandelier with rope accent. The classic white chairs are for outdoor weddings and the walnut cross back chairs were chosen for the interior.”


Follow the Progress
“We’ve had really good success in booking the venue while under construction, so having it fully completed soon, will make a huge impact,” said Koenig. “With the success of The Pines, we’re not going to stop upgrading, renovating and building, so what it is now, could be drastically different in the future. We have a much bigger vision for what the whole property can become.”To make sure Midwest Nest readers get the scoop on The Pines first, we will be covering each step of their progress from the final reveal of wedding number one next month, to phase two where they will be transforming the on-site grain bins into guest lodging. The Pines might be slated for a venue now, but it will soon be a local destination with an extraordinary lodging experience that will attract adventure seekers everywhere.

For more information, contact: 

The Pines




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[ Lakes Area Home Tour ] Sneak Peek: Ottertail, Minnesota

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Studio Three Beau   Mark your calendars for the fourth annual Lakes Area Home Tour. This self-guided tour of seven homes takes place for…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Studio Three Beau

Mark your calendars for the fourth annual Lakes Area Home Tour. This self-guided tour of seven homes takes place for one day only, on September 29. To give our readers a sneak peek, we met up with tour coordinator, Emily Dreyer, to walk us through one of the stunning, featured homes owned by Paula and Casady Thiel of Ottertail, Minn. If spectacular homes don’t pique your interest, maybe their charitable cause will. Find out how taking a tour will benefit the 549 Family Foundation and go on to support the valued student programs in their Perham, Minn., area school district.

Take a Tour / Help a Student
“The Lakes Area Home Tour started in 2015 and has been a great way to showcase many of the beautiful homes in our area, as well as help our local vendors promote their businesses and the work that they do,” said Dreyer. The 549 Family Foundation is based in Perham, Minn. and composed of 250 alumni and community members who work to counteract budget cuts and provide creative contributions to programs, activities, educational tools and facilities.

Featured Home Sneak Peek:
The Thiels – Ottertail, Minnesota

Casady and Paula Thiel with their son, Phoenix, and French Bulldog, Betty

When Paula and Casady Thiel, along with their son Phoenix, began the design of their rural home, they were not without inspiration. Their gorgeous lot is uniquely positioned between three lakes, just outside of Ottertail’s city limits. Employing the help of talented friends, family and RHET Architecture, Casady and Paula Thiel constructed a dream team of creative visionaries to complete their build.

Although a design we’d classify as one-of-a-kind, this type of project is one of many for the Thiel family. They’ve become well-known in the area for their artistic endeavors with scrap metal and salvaged materials. Take a drive down Main Street in Ottertail and we have no doubt you’ll be able to spot their family’s handiwork. In fact, you can tour one more if you’d like – Paula Thiel is the owner of Ottertail’s infamous Red Brick Boutique, also designed in their signature style and located in the restored Ottertail Creamery.

Inspiration Sparked
Influencing the home’s design was the initial work of Casady’s father Pete Thiel, the founder of Firestarters Worship Center in Ottertail. Pete Thiel’s desire to create a unique space for his ministry and restore the old Ottertail Creamery, eventually led their entire family to become local experts in making use of salvaged materials. For the Thiels, the family that builds together…stays together.Casady and Paula Thiel began their build in September of 2015, reaching out to RHET Architecture to help with the layout and placement on the lot. From the beginning, Casady Thiel, who runs his own tile business (Thiel Tile & Stone), worked closely with architect Rhet Fiskness, to make the most of the beautiful, three-lake lot, positioning all of their main living spaces south, toward the lake.”Technically, this is lakeshore, but as you can see this is a backlot of Donald Lake. The lot is split in half by Three Lakes Road with Long Lake; our lakefront is across the street on Portage Lake,” explained Paula Thiel.

Just in the entrance, the Thiel’s design-forward thinking is in full force. Referring to the rough-sawn red oak, Mid-century modern chandelier and vintage tin ceiling tile, Casady Thiel sums up their style as ‘rustic elegance’; a complementary combination of Paula’s career in fashion and Casady’s in construction.

Head up the stairs to the great room and office, and you’ll find the stairwell’s glossy, wood-paneled walls – a unique take on an ordinary building material. “This is actually B-grade plywood from Menards that we stained and polyed,” said Paula Thiel. “We went through a lot of plywood at the store, trying to find the best pieces. They ended up looking really random because some of them took stain better than others.” To finish the pieces, the Thiels worked with their friend Wendell Danielson who helped them roll on a high-gloss floor polyurethane and cut each one into 32×48 panels – getting roughly three pieces out of every sheet of plywood. “I think the sheen is the reason this design works,” said Danielson.

Custom fabrication by local welder James Virnala was used in the making of the raw steel stair railings. Throughout the home, Casady Thiel’s eye for perfection takes center stage with the precise install of raw steel wall panels with exposed bolts and steel trim work.

Open-Concept Living
The East wing of the house features an open concept with the kitchen, living room and dining room sharing one unified space. Rough-sawn oak flanks the ceiling while Carrara marble countertops and custom tile designate the kitchen space. “Casady found the tile at Menards, but they were sold as 12x12s. It just didn’t look very interesting, so he cut them down to 6x12s,” explained Paula Thiel.#1, 14
The living room is a favorite spot for the Thiels to relax, build a fire and take in the view. With only one TV in the home, the outdoors is considered their primary source of entertainment.
The Thiels have 4,000 square feet of rough-sawn oak, so in some areas, it’s white-washed and in other areas, it’s the raw, natural color like on the ceiling in the family room, kitchen and dining room. “We found the red oak from a guy in the woods up by Park Rapids, Minn. When we found a material that either Paula or I really liked, I would just buy a lot of it, so we actually had to use it,” laughed Casady Thiel.

Inside the master bath, Casady Thiel used rustic corrugated metal on the ceiling, antiqued brass plumbing fixtures, vintage pendants and his wife’s white Carrara marble tile as the elegant focal point. “Since tile is what I do for a living, I had to go big with the shower,” he laughed. “We just did marble everywhere in here.”

Just a few steps away, the couple created closet perfection with an inexpensive IKEA system that fit so well, it left them with only 1/8-inch to spare. According to Casady Thiel, about 80 percent of the closet is currently his wife’s terrain, inhabited by an array of personal favorites from her clothing store, Red Brick Boutique. For this project, Andrew Campbell helped with the framing and finish work.With his prior construction experience, Casady Thiel was able to work on the entire building project from start to finish, with help from friends and family. “My dad helped me with the foundation and fireplace masonry and my father-in-law helped me frame it,” he said. “We also had Andrew Costin of Costin Construction and our long-time friend, Wendell Danielson, helping with a lot of the work.”

Extraordinary Exterior
With their picturesque lake view setting, the Thiels chose to keep their exterior as organic as possible with elements like rough-sawn wood, salvaged corrugated metal, and raw steel which will naturally age with time. “I’ve always like the look of the shed roof and modern lines, but with rustic and salvaged materials,” said Casady Thiel.”Rhet came up with the idea of doing a sort of ‘pod’ design so that the materials would be different on each section of the house,” said Paula Thiel.#15
“To make this work, we sided it with all different styles of accent panels. Call it O.C.D., but I really needed all of the exterior windows to align,” laughed Casady Thiel. The section encompassing the living room is in a naturally rusting raw steel, while the master’s exterior is wrapped in salvaged, corrugated metal they purchased for 25 cents a square foot in Fergus Falls.Look closer and you’ll find rough-sawn wood on all of the soffit and fascia, which is carried over to the exterior, underneath the lean-to. Also on the roadside, the garage entrance doors have been wrapped with raw steel for a more cohesive exterior design.

In the Future
On the lakeside, the Thiels ongoing plan is to build a boathouse and continue working on the lakefront area which already includes a finished volleyball court. On the exterior, they will be building a Juliet-style deck on the second level coming out from the upstairs office and great room. They also plan to design a trellis over the garage doors to bring in more of the rough-sawn wood elements.

Find the Finishes:
Architect –  Casady Thiel, Rhet Fiskness, RHET Architecture, Fargo, N.D.
Landscape – Paula Thiel with floral by Swedberg Nursery, Battle Lake, Minn.
Plywood walls and tile supply – Menards
Tile design & install – Casady Thiel, Thiel Tile & Stone
Countertops – Carrara Marble, Syverson Tile & Stone, Fargo N.D.
Masonry – Casady Thiel and Pete Thiel
Metal fabrication – James Virnala
Master closet system – Ikea
Construction – Andrew Costin, Costin Construction, Wadena, Minn., Pete Thiel, Casady Thiel, Andrew Campbell
Woodwork – Casady Thiel, Pete Thiel and Wendell Danielson



Take a Tour
“This year, we have homes in Perham, Frazee, New York Mills and Ottertail,” said Dreyer. “We want to have a little something to inspire everyone in their own decorating, remodeling or building projects. The homes range in sizes, decor styles, locations and more. We try to pick homes that have done some updates, are new builds, or have interesting features that would be fun to see. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and I think people just enjoy seeking that inspiration out and then bringing it to life in their own space.”

Tour Sponsors:
The tours Title Sponsor is Lumber Depot of New York Mills, Minn. “They have been our Title Sponsor for the past few years, and their knowledge and expertise in the building industry has been instrumental throughout the planning process,” said Dreyer. “Their goal is to help people find inspiration that suits their lifestyle and make their spaces uniquely their own.”Each home also has designated ‘Host Sponsors’ which are businesses in the community that are affiliated with the home on some level. These sponsors are present in the home on the day of the tour to showcase their business and assist with the tour traffic. “This year, you’ll find Bremer Bank, New Horizons Realty, Hilltop Lumber, Refreshing Designs & Karvonen’s, United Community Bank, and Thiel Tile & Stone at different homes on the tour. They change each year based on the different homes that will be featured,” said Dreyer. The tour also consists of “Friend Sponsors” and “Neighbor Sponsors” that can support the tour while marketing their products and services.



Lakes Area Home Tour:
Saturday, September 29, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Cost is $25/ticket with proceeds benefiting the 549 Family Foundation.
[Tickets come with a coupon for a free seasonal beverage at Brew Ales & Eats in Perham!]


Find Tickets At:
Nest, Bremer Bank, Refreshing Designs in Perham or at Lumber Depot in New York MillsPurchase Tickets Online:
Facebook – Lakes Area Home Tour
https://www.facebook.com/events/1477321369012671/For more information:
Facebook Page – Lakes Area Home Tour
* Be sure to ‘like’ their page to see updates and sneak peeks of each featured home!To Support 549 Family Foundation, contact:
Emily Dreyer
800 Coney Street West, Perham, M.N.


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